Mother and daughter 'tormented' by guards over train ticket

30 July 2018 - 08:59 By Penwell Dlamini
Image: Gallo Images/ IStock

Metrorail is investigating the conduct of guards who held a woman and her daughter against their will after a dispute over a train ticket.

Cathrine Nkwali was dropped off by her husband at the Witpoortjie station in Gauteng early on Sunday with her daughter to visit her ailing mother in Randfontein. She noticed that nobody was selling train tickets but was not troubled as she had R7.50 to pay for the journey.

But her ordeal began after arriving at the Randfontein station.

“When we disembarked‚ I went to the ticket examiners to request a purchase of the ticket. I gave them a R10 and informed them that I don’t have a ticket‚” she said.

She was told to go to a room at the station.

“After a few minutes (they) demanded that I pay R47. I asked where should I have bought the ticket because there was no one at the station.”

Nkwali said later other Metrorail staff joined her in the room and began demanding that she pay R47‚ which she was not prepared to do.

“I complained that the room was cold and I was with a child‚ who was crying because they were shouting at me.”

Nkwali said that her daughter needed to use the bathroom.

“I asked to take the child to the bathroom but they said I must leave my handbag. I said I cannot do that. Then they said I should leave my phone. I said I can’t leave my phone here because no one will take responsibility when I don’t find it on my return. Then they said I’m rude and I should remain in this room. I was fortunate that one of the ladies then took my daughter to the toilet and then brought her back. When my daughter returned‚ I called my husband.”

Nkwali’s husband confronted the Metrorail officials‚ demanding that if she had broken the law‚ they summon the police and have her arrested.

I complained that the room was cold and I was with a child‚ who was crying because they were shouting at me
Cathrine Nkwali

She was eventually released without having to pay R47. But the trauma was too much for her to continue the journey to see her mother. She returned home.

Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said the incident would be investigated.

“I spoke to the husband of the commuter and I am shocked at the way our guards treated the customer without even first verifying the fact that there were no ticket sales at the Witpoortjie station‚” Mofokeng said.

“We will address this matter and ensure that the commuter is invited to identify the officers that were rude so that disciplinary action can be taken to avoid this from happening again. Yes‚ if commuters are found without a ticket in our system we charge a penalty fee of R40‚ plus the actual trip fee. However‚ it has to be verified first that there are no sales people at the station where a commuter boards a train‚ since we are aware that not all train stations are open‚ especially on Sundays.”